Homily Fourteenth Sunday Year B Lack of faith

By 10:17 AM


Homily Fourteenth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Ezekiel was given a difficult task by God. He was called to be a prophet, a spokesperson, for God’s words. He was sent to speak this word to the Chosen People in exile for their infidelity to their covenant with God. God called them rebels like their ancestors. The difficult task was to speak God’s word to a people, who will reject the message because of the hardness of their hearts.


The role of the prophet is to speak God’s words, not to force them to accept or act on that word. Many of the prophets of the Old Testament suffered because they faithfully relayed God’s message but were rejected, persecuted and even killed, because the people did not want to hear the message of the Lord. It is only afterwards, when the message was fulfilled, that later generations would acknowledge the person as truly a prophet of God.


Like those in Ezekiel’s time, we don’t always like to hear the words spoken prophetically to us. At times, they are encouraging. But at other times they are words calling us to repent and return to the Lord. Even though God knows we may reject his word, God will still speak his word to us. The power of the word of God was expressed by Jesus. He said that he would not judge us, but his word would. Did we hear it, received it and acted on it or did we reject it? Even Isaiah reflected the same message about the power of God’s word. He said, it is like rain. It falls on the good and the bad. But it will not return to me empty.


Gospel: Last Sunday we reflected on the faith of the woman, who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed. We followed that with the faith of Jairus, who heard the testimony of the woman and put his trust in Jesus in spite of the message about the death of his daughter.  Because of this trust and faith, he witnessed the restoration to life in his daughter.


Today, we heard the lack of faith of the people of Nazareth in the person of Jesus. Like Ezekiel, Jesus is also a prophet. He had been sent by God to proclaim a message of forgiveness of sins and salvation to the world. As he said, he came to set captives free, preach Glad tidings to the poor and heal the sick.

When Jesus returned to his home town of Nazareth, maybe for some R & R with his disciples, he was asked to share a word in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He shared what God had done for him at the time of his baptism and what God was doing through him in signs and wonders.


Their first response was a sense of wonder. “Where did he get all this?” Then they turned to question his identity, which is a theme in Mark’s Gospel: Who is Jesus? They knew him growing up; they knew his family; they knew him as a carpenter.  Their questions led to doubt and rejection. They could not and would not accept that he was anything other than their past knowledge of him. They could not accept that God had chosen him to speak his words. As a result, they refused to believe in him or to be open to any ministry, even when a few people were healed. Their minds were made up and closed. This saddened Jesus, because of their lack of faith and openness.


How open are we to the Word of God? Do we box God in by accepting what we want to hear and reject what we don’t want to hear?  Have we settled into a comfort zone in our relationship with God? Is our faith in Jesus active or static?


Reading 2: Paul was a prophet, who also was rejected, persecuted and eventually killed, because he spoke God’s message to a people, who did not want to hear it. Here, Paul is dealing with a personal issue which affects his mission as a prophet. Though he had received many spiritual experiences, revelations and visions, he suffered from what he calls a thorn in the flesh. We don’t know what it was. He indicated he had a speech impediment; he had other physical ailments as well.


It could be he was haunted by his past persecution of the followers of the Way. But whatever it was, it seemed to hamper his work as a prophet. Yet God used this situation to teach Paul a valuable lesson. In his weakness and imperfections, God can still work. His grace is sufficient, transforming weaknesses into power. Paul came to the point of embracing his weaknesses and circumstances and use them for the sake of Christ and the furthering of the Kingdom.


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